The Top 10 Technologies of 2020
Vehicles are connecting to everything, including infrastructure, smart buildings, highway signs, businesses and emergency warnings.
In fact, the North American fully autonomous car market is expected to grow between 2023 and 2030, garnering $52.3 billion by 2030.
Battery electric vehicles are expected to be the fastest growing category.
“While some people like to call these emerging technologies, I can assure you that they are not emerging anymore,” Fred Iantorno, vice president, Internet of Things (IoT), VeriFacts Automotive, says. “They are here today, they are all around us and they are here to stay.”
Advanced driver assistance features began developing in 2010 through 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s predicted that by 2025, vehicles will have partially automated safety features integrated into the vehicle design. In 2025 and beyond, the world will begin to see fully automated vehicles.
The decades of automation will bring with it some benefits, including the potential to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes, erase economic and societal costs from crashes, improve traffic flow, and provide new mobility options to millions of Americans.
Advanced vehicles will not only mean benefits for the environment and economy, but indicate that vehicle repairs are advancing as well. Gone are the days where a repair shop or body shop could repair a vehicle without looking up repair procedures from OEMs or even using a computer during the repair. Here are the days in which vehicles will be able to self-diagnose and scan, and self-document all processes and results, Iantorno says.
As a shop operator, repairing advanced vehicles will mean keeping an eye on the evolving technology and how it plays a role in your shop. Iantorno shares key areas he advises shop operators to watch out for.
3D Printing: 3D printing will have the largest impact in parts, he says. Soon, body shop operators will be able to print their own parts from small ones to more complex ones. Patents and copyright of the parts will need to be addressed. He predicts that either operators will have the right to repair 1-5 parts from an OE or purchase those parts from the OE.
5G: Connectivity to a repair shop will be a requirement very soon. 5G has the potential to replace WiFi as it becomes more pervasive and less expensive, he says. 5G is not just faster than 4G, it is able to respond quicker and have data arrive at its destination faster. 5G also opens the door to connecting an infinite number of devices, without which, the repair shop will fall behind.
Artificial Intelligence: AI is already impacting our industry and will accompany every technology moving forward, he says. Artificial Intelligence drives photo estimates and the first notice of loss (FNOL) can originate from a car or a smartphone.
Take a look into the technology already impacting the vehicle and then dive further to see the technology already embedded within most cars on the market right now.
Technology Beneath the Surface
Many OEMs have been fighting to reduce the weight of vehicles and the vehicle’s impact on the environment. One example of lightweight composites hitting the market right now is Smart Steel by the Material Sciences Corporation. Smart Steel is a lower weight direct substitute for low carbon steel. It can reduce 35 percent compared to standard steel. It;s designed to be stamped and resistance spot welded.
The use of plastics 3D printing has become a part of some manufacturer’s vehicle design processes. For instance, Audi adopted using 3D -printed parts in 2018. Audi Plastics 3D Printing Center uses Stratasys’ J750 full-color, multi-material 3D printing in order to streamline the process of producing tail light covers. The automaker needs parts in the design process to have the exact part geometries, no distortion and high quality.
LiDAR is an acronym for light detection and ranging. The technology uses laser beams to create a 3D representation of the landscape. The sensor emits pulsed light waves from a laser into the environment. The pulses bounce off objects and return to the sensor to calculate the distance it traveled. One example of lidar used in vehicles is through Velodyne, which has lidar spinning 360 degrees to produce 3D maps of the area.
IoT (Internet of Things)
In the 2000s, cars began featuring USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity, eventually opening the doors for the growth of connected vehicles. Automakers now connect cars either by embedded or tethered. Embedded cars use built-in antenna and chip while tethered cars use hardware to allow the driver to connect via a smartphone. These connections allow automakers to release software updates in real time and the companies can use data from the car to analyze its performance.
OEMs including Porsche and BMW are now offering augmented reality platforms so that the customer can have a say in designing the vehicle. These are virtual showrooms. And, using virtual reality glasses, the customer could see the car’s interior in 3D. The virtual reality is also creating an avenue for the customer to view the vehicle manual through an app. This opens the door for vehicle makes and models to have even more variety in features when they enter a shop and for access to the owner’s manual to become mobile.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
These systems detect an impending forward crash with another car in time to prevent or lessen the impact of the collision. The system will first alert the driver to take corrective action to prevent the crash. Some of these systems include dynamic brake support (DBS) and crash imminent braking (CIB).
Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
This system monitors the vehicle’s speed, the speed of the vehicle in front of it and the distance between the vehicles. The system will warn the driver if there is likely to be a crash. This system does not take full control of the car.
Adaptive Driving Beam Headlights
This long-range forward visibility beam adapts to the presence of other vehicles to reduce glare. Overall, it could provide benefit to the driver by improving the visibility for the driver without harming that of others on the road.
360 Degree Camera
Manufacturers like Nissan have around view monitors. This is a support technology that helps the driver park safely by assisting the driver with a bird’s eye view of the surroundings. Data from the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that 9 percent of pedestrian crash-related deaths result from backup incidents.
At the end of summer 2019, Jaguar Land Rover announced it is developing heads up displays. Other OEMs like Mercedes-Benz have already stepped into this space. This technology can give drivers alerts, speed limits and other information in a way that would reduce driver distractions while using augmented reality. Some aftermarket options are cheaper, ranging from $50 to $500 to install in a car, and can be set on top of a dashboard to display information.